Alex Borg drawn against Rod Lawler
Stephen Hendry will take on a familiar adversary in his quest to return to the Crucible this year, with the Scot drawn to face Jimmy White in the first round of qualifying for snooker’s World Championship.
Malta professional player Alex Borg was also in the draw for the World Champinship qualifiers.
The Mellieħa-born cueist was drawn to face Rod Lawler in the first qualifying round, with the winner of the match facing China’s Yuan Sijun.
Hendry, 52, who made an eagerly anticipated comeback to the professional tour at the Gibraltar Open earlier this month after nearly nine years away, had a famous rivalry with England’s White in the early 1990s.
The pair contested four world finals in the space of five years in Sheffield and Hendry prevailed on each occasion on his way to becoming a seven-time winner.
White, 58, has never been able to get his hands on snooker’s top prize, despite featuring in six finals. The “Whirlwind” last reached the main draw in 2006.
Hendry learned the news while working in his role as a pundit for ITV at the ongoing Tour Championship – and was incredulous to find that White was lying in wait for him.
“No, stop it,” he said. “I can’t believe that. You’re winding me up—that’s unbelievable.
“All those finals we played and now we’re starting off at rock bottom playing each other in the very first round. It’s incredible.
“We’ve been practising together as well, so that’s ended.”
The pair’s last meeting in the professional ranks went Hendry’s way as he won 9-8 in the last-32 of the 2010 UK Championship, but White beat his old nemesis at the World Seniors Championship last year.
The qualifying tournament starts on April 5, with the World Championship beginning on April 17.